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A list of big fours that I can think of/are already established for different genres
Essentially, all "Big Fours" have their own unique rankings while still maintaining at least a "first place" which holds and maintains a legacy and a "last place" which is still respected, if not a bit out-of-place. There is, however, a certain "type" of big four which can be seen in a few genres. For simplicity's sake, I'll call this "Type A".
In Type A, we first have a group that was short-lived (at least in terms of actual discography and timespan compared to the other three bands) yet still maintain a legacy and has at least one of their albums be seen as a "classic". I would classify Nirvana to be this band when considering the big four of grunge. For Nirvana, this "classic" is either Nevermind (in the eyes of the average mainstream listener) or In Utero (in the eyes of more die-hard fans), though a real OG would know that Bleach is, in fact, their best album.
|2||Alice In Chains|
The second band that applies to this concept would be the one which is generally agreed to of peaked with a certain album, with their later albums being seen as consistent in quality. Alice In Chains perhaps fit this mold the best out of the big four of their associated genre, with their post-Staley material in particular gaining respect while still standing in the shadow of Dirt, what's typically seen as their best LP.
We now move on to a similar case, in which many consider that the band in question peaked with an album and was never able to relive the same quality to varying degrees of disdain. Some cases the critiques are not so harsh (i.e. the "classic" album is so good it's borderline impossible to achieve it again), other cases it's just another way of saying that the group sucks ass now. Whatever case may be, I would say it applies to Pearl Jam the best just by looking over their ratings: Their debut has a 4.4 average, their latest record has a 3.3.
Lastly, we have the fourth group. The "last place", so to speak. This is a band which holds respect and is largely related to the rest of the big fours as a result of it's existence among the same era and consistent quality of their material. However, as respected as their discography may be, it's generally agreed that they lack a certain "peak", any "perfect albums", or, in a similar case with the first band, it's generally debated which album of their's is their best. I'd consider Soundgarden to be this band when it comes to the big four of grunge, as they don't seem to hold the same legacies as their contemporaries and their shining moment is never a single answer: It's either Badmotorfinger, or Superunknown.
Admittedly, you could argue that Soundgarden and Pearl Jam should be switched around. Pearl Jam has a similar issue with their first two records, though to reiterate Ten appears to have more praise thrown it's way.
We Are the Romans
With all this in mind, I will now move onto the big four of mathcore, a genre which generally has four bands typically seen as it's best representation. Without a doubt, Botch is the "Nirvana" of their genre as they too have a small discography in comparison with their contemporaries. Difference is, however, their 1999 swansong We Are The Romans is considered by many as their magnum opus.
|6||The Dillinger Escape Plan|
It's pretty tricky deciding on whether TDEP or Converge would be their Alice In Chains of mathcore, but ultimately I decided that TDEP would be the most suitable choice. Here's why: They managed to avoid the "Jane Doe effect" almost entirely and received a consistent amount of praise for their whole career, even when compared to the acclaim their first two records received. Did they ever match the two? Depends on who you ask. Are their those who wished they continued the Calculating Infinity sound? Yes, but they're a relatively small minority I would say...
...at least when compared to those who compare every Converge LP post-You Fail Me to Jane Doe. In all honesty, this is the only reason I equate Converge as the "Pearl Jam" of their genre. They're still beloved by many -core fans, and the rest of their discography is praised to high hell. But seriously, how many times have you read a Converge thread where not a single soul brought up Jane?
Functioning on Impatience
Finally, we have Coalesce, a group which is well respected and rather popular (at least within their respective scene), yet lacks that real defining moment. Sure, 0:12 was featured in Decibel once, and OX charted, but none of their records have ever achieved the same critical success as Jane, Calculating, or Romans. Their records are all seen as equals, essentially.
Master of Puppets
Here's the one you've most likely came for: The big four of thrash (or, what Sinternet would likely call it: the big four of ass). This differs from the "Type A model" as all four bands could be seen as "Pearl Jams", that is, they all peaked with certain albums and slowly "degraded", never being able to relive their former glory.
If anything, Metallica is the closest equivalent to Pearl Jam. Every ounce of praise they get as a band is largely a response to either Ride the Lightning or it's clearly superior successor Master of Puppets. Even their post-Puppets albums have their fair share of detractors. And Justice? Bad production, bad song writing. The Black Album? Too clean cut. Everything else? Not thrashy enough, or just crap.
Rust in Peace
Megadeth is in a similar situation as Metallica, as their 90's material as a whole often gets a response of a mere "meh" to die hard fans of Rust In Peace and Peace Sells... And least we forget Supercollider. Still, they've put out albums which were awarded praise, if not short of the same they got in their glory days.
Reign in Blood
Slayer is perhaps the most fitting band to be called the "Alice In Chains" of thrash as even the records seen as their worst (i.e. their millennial period) still gets a better reputation compared to the weakest efforts of their peers within the four. But just like Megadeth, they never made another album quite as praised as any of their first five.
Among the Living
Finally, the "last place" of thrash. Still ones up Coalesce in the sense that they do have an album their fans agree to be their best: Among the Living. It's just that, unlike the other three bands grouped with them, that's seen as their only album of that quality.
Selected Ambient Works 85-92
To move on to our last grouping, I'll look at IDM. Keep in mind that the tag is very loose, and that all of these four groups are rather different in style and are only lumped together really due to the fact that they're all on the same label and are generally praised within the same circles.
Anyways, Aphex Twin is like "Pearl Jam" in that his post-2010 material is stuck within the shadow of his glorious reign in the 90's, in which he pumped out tracks and albums that all got high praise, and still do to this day.
Autechre, on the other hand, are practically seen as gods that do no wrong among electronic fans, even if more "mainstream" sources mute their praise at times. If you want a better understanding of what I mean, just skim through their section at the WATMM forums...
|15||Boards of Canada|
Music Has the Right to Children
Boards of Canada have a similar case, except they have the advantage of being acclaimed in practically every corner of the world and the internet they're able to get attention of.
Hard Normal Daddy
And then we have Squarepusher, whose early work is generally seen as his peak, with almost everything after the turn of the millennium seen as hit or miss. Again, if you want to really see what I mean, lurk his section of WATMM. The amount of dudes who say he fell off is hilarious.
Anyways, let's talk about "fifth places" because why not lol. I'd say Mudhoney would be the "fifth place" of grunge, if only because their early stuff helped popularize it within their area and they're now seen as one of the real originators of the style.
Until Your Heart Stops
This is the closest this band has ever gotten to mathcore, and it's pretty much their Jane Doe in the eyes of those who prefer their heavy style. A essential amongst the canon, you could say.
Bonded by Blood
How many times do you hear that this band should be in the big four of thrash, not Anthrax?
Tough one for IDM, because as I said it's such a loose term. Could Venetian Snares count? How about u-Ziq? You get my point.
|this took too long lol|
|sweet list, personally I hear Testament should replace Anthrax more often|
|super cool list. I agree on 19! Exodus is so much better than Anthrax|
Edit: yeah Testament would also be a better alternative
|Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks |
For British Invasion
Beach Boys, Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Byrds
for like, classic pop
|U-Ziq and Squarepusher are interchangeable so you're good.|
|Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis|
Prog rock obvs
Low, American Music Club, Red House Painters, Codeine
My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Swervedriver
|I enjoy most lists with 15 included.|
|Portishead, massive attack, bjork, DJ Shadow|
For Trip Hop
|poor little Anthrax|
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr
|The smiths, new order/joy division, the cure, |
|Metallica megadeth Testament and overkill is my big four|
|Exodus and Testament, to the dismay of some, were influenced by the big four to varying degree whether people like to admit it or not so that alone takes a point off from their partaking in the big four. Also Anthrax, while the most disliked, were different enough and were more influential than Testament and Exodus combined so that alone is why they are a part of it.|
|I'd say Screaming Trees would be a more likely fifth for grunge since they just barely bubbled under that threshold of popularity moreso than Mudhoney.|
|anthrax is not good|
|sneaky edit ^|
|"anthrax is not good"|
|Testament > anthrax |
|GY!BE, Mogwai, Explosions, Sigur Ros|
Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum, Mayhem
|Anthrax are fine|
|Sachiko M, Toshimaru Nakamura, Otomo Yoshihide, Taku Sugimoto.|
|You missed the big four of prog and the big four of post metal neg|
|You fucked up with the part that says AJFA has bad songwriting, what the fuck?|
|Slint, Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, GYBE|
|"Testament > anthrax|
|Anthrax totally deserves to be among the so called Big Four btw.|
|not so much bad songwriting, but over-the-top and prolonging|
|Is there a big 4 of djent? Like Periphery, Tessersct ... who else? |
|Vergil, Morrigan, Zero, Doctor Doom.|
|Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, MF Doom, Eyedea|
The big 4 of Indie Rap?
|coalesce fuckin slap and deserve more recognition dammit|
|lol the big 4 for djent|
violent sleep of reason
|The big 4 of emo-pop|
Fall Out Boy
Panic! at the Disco
My Chemical Romance
already made a list for it ;)
|"lol the big 4 for djent|
violent sleep of reason
but that's five though
|honorable mention just like OP did cmon son follow along|
|Forgive me father for I know not what I do.|
|Among the Living is garb|
Nope, I got it right
John Coltrane -> Nirvana. Too short-lived, a debate whether ALS or GS is better depending on how mainstream you are, but many will say Blue Train is best. Premature death, worshiped like a god.
Miles Davis -> Pearl Jam. One clear classic at the beginning of the scene (KoB), but others will debate the one that came sometime after was better (BB). Have had a lot of time in the scene to show how lower quality they could become.
Charles Mingus -> Alice in Chains. One album which will always outshine the rest of their discog. That album is a little "deeper cut" than ALS (Nevermind) or Kind of Blue (Ten), and those living and breathing the genre will note this as the pinnacle sound. Premature death, but their story is much less enunciated than their "Type A" contemporary.
Thelonious Monk -> Soundgarden. No clear masterpiece, but lumped in with the rest bc of being in the scene, timing in the era, and relation to the others.